France leads animal welfare consortium

By Melodie Michel

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Animal welfare European union Infectious disease Livestock

The French national institute for agricultural research (INRA) is co-ordinating a pan-European effort to improve animal welfare in the EU.

The European ERA-Net ANIHWA aims to increase co-operation and co-ordination of EU member states’ national research programmes on farm animal welfare. It will build on the achievements of the previous ERA-Net EMIDA on emerging and major infectious diseases of livestock, considering diseases as a major animal welfare concern.

“Exotic or emerging infectious threats are ever-present and their potential environmental consequences are a growing concern. Endemic and production diseases are often overlooked, although they are the most harmful to animal welfare. The disease threats to the livestock industry have increased steadily as a result of intensification of livestock production, globalisation, evolving pathogens and climate change,”​ said INRA.

The project will enhance co-operation between partners, with a systematic exchange of information and mapping of national research activities and facilities, gap analysis and preparation of a dedicated strategic research agenda. Funding mechanisms will be thoroughly assessed, with an increased number of joint calls and strategic activities to improve sustainable development and expand the animal welfare network.

The consortium, consisting of 30 organisations from 19 countries, represents the leading national financing bodies for animal health and welfare research in the EU, with funds estimated at over €250m annually, according to INRA.

“The activities of consumer groups and animal protectionists and the effects of large-scale sanitary crises have increased the awareness that animal production is more than just an industry. Farm animal welfare is now clearly an important issue for people across Europe and there is clear demand for higher animal welfare standards,”​ added the French institute.

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